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Ordering subjects: actor-networks and intellectual technologies in lifelong learning

Edwards R (2003) Ordering subjects: actor-networks and intellectual technologies in lifelong learning, Studies in the Education of Adults, 35 (1), pp. 54-67.

This article explores the relationship between changes in governing and the significance of lifelong learning for this. Drawing on Foucault's notions of governmentality and technologies of the self, and concepts derived from actor-network theory, I argue that discourses of lifelong learning act as intellectual technologies through which there is the attempt to fashion certain networks and order socialities. In the process of representing and mobilising lifelong learning new orderings for the conduct of conduct are produced, which provide possibilities for subjectivity in alignment with a moral economy of enterprise, in which the self becomes something to work on. I also point to the fragility of such actor-networks as the processes of representation become more diffuse and subject to (dis)orders. Theoretically, the paper is attempting to work beyond the binaries of subject-object, nature-society, structure-agency. Its concern is with the socio-rhetorical work in the intellectual technologies with which we engage in and around lifelong learning and the exercises of power at a distance that are involved in the discursive work of the notion of lifelong learning itself.

AuthorsEdwards Richard
Publication date04/2003
PublisherNational Institute of Adult Continuing Education
ISSN 0266-0830

Studies in the Education of Adults: Volume 35, Issue 1

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